The USS Constellation ventured past the Key Bridge and into the Chesapeake Bay for the first time in half a century, arriving in Annapolis on Tuesday after a 30-mile trip from Baltimore.
The 1854 ship did not make the voyage under its own power; three tugboats eased it down the Chesapeake's shipping channel. The public will be able to tour the ship as it remains moored until next week along the Farragut Seawall at the U.S. Naval Academy.
The ship will be open for viewing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Saturday. On Sunday, the ship will be open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission is free. No cars are permitted on the Naval Academy grounds without a valid Department of Defense sticker. Visitors will need to provide a government-issued picture ID to gain access to the academy grounds.
Public parking will be available today, Friday and Sunday at the Navy-Marine Corps Stadium off Rowe Boulevard on Taylor Avenue. All-day parking costs $4. The stadium lot will not be open to the public on Saturday, when the Navy football team plays its homecoming game.
The Constellation's departure for its return to Baltimore is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Monday.
The Constellation has over the past 10 years been largely rebuilt, restored to what it probably looked like when it was in service. Kennedy Hickman, curator of the USS Constellation Museum, described the vessel as "the pinnacle of the sailing warship design."
The cannons on deck are now made of fiberglass, the masts and bowsprit are reconstructions, and much of the boat's hull is made from multi-layered wood laminate. But the timbers that make up its skeleton are original, as is much of the boat's interior.
-- David Snyder